- About us
- COVID-19 Response
- Hospitals and centres
- Patients and visitors
- Join our team
- Get involved
- Clinician resources
- Refer your patient
The Seniors Legal and Support Service (SLASS) is a health justice partnership between Metro South Health and Caxton Legal Centre Inc., bringing together lawyers, social workers and other health professionals to achieve proactive early intervention for older patients who are at risk of or experiencing elder abuse. The service commenced in 2019 as the Older Persons Advocacy and Legal Service (OPALS) but renamed in October 2023.
In Australia, one in six people have been found to experience a form of elder abuse and nearly 30% of people initially seek advice from trusted health or welfare professionals when in situations of elder abuse, putting health professionals in a unique position to identify, respond and make appropriate referrals of patients to specialist support services. Caxton Legal Centre and Metro South Health together can provide compassionate person-centred and timely information, advice about options and support to address the health, psycho-social and legal needs of older people and improve their overall wellbeing, choice and safety.
SLASS is a free service assisting people over 60+ years old or 50+ years old for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who receive health care from Metro South health services.
In hospitals, concerns about elder abuse are often referred to the health social workers. This process can continue within treating teams as the social workers can refer direct to SLASS with patient consent. However, it is good to note that any staff member in Metro South Health can seek a secondary de-identified consultation with one of the SLASS team to discuss their concerns. It is as simple as making a phone call or having a conversation as first contact. Community health staff can refer direct to SLASS, of course, as there may be no social worker in the team.
SLASS will provide ongoing legal and community social work support. The team’s lawyers provide outreach at all the major Metro South Hospitals on different days, but are contactable by phone 9-5, Monday to Friday and its services are available for both inpatients and outpatients. They visit both people in hospital and community. They can follow up for as long as the older person wants and needs elder abuse assistance.
The SLASS lawyer has focused expertise in elder law including capacity and decision-making, domestic and family violence, elder abuse legal options, advance care planning documents, personal and financial safeguarding and family agreements. SLASS is part of Caxton’s broader elder abuse programs that consists of lawyers, community social workers, First Nations workers, and can connect you to other programs that offer future planning and financial protections support or social connections.
SLASS conduct training sessions for Metro South Health staff on how to identify elder abuse (‘red flags’ training) and how to make appropriate referrals. Anyone can attend these sessions as elder abuse is not just identified by health professionals. Everyone can notice and respond and refer to elder abuse.
A further collaboration between Queensland Health and Caxton resulted in the development of the iLearn modules titled “Human rights in practice: Decisions, capacity and options”. These free self-paced modules cover:
• Human rights, older people and people with disabilities
• Support decision making
• Future planning and enduring documents
• Assessing capacity for decision making: Foundational
• Assessing capacity for decision making: advanced
The modules are free for anyone to access here.
The Seniors Legal and Support Service is funded by the Commonwealth Government, Attorney-General’s Department.